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Monday, May 03, 2010


Recently I wrote a post regarding my opinions on as to why large exotic felids roam the wilds of the UK. This seemed to irk a few in the ‘big cat’ community, as it always seems to do. I’ve always thought that a rather down to earth explanation could solve the riddle as to why black leopard, puma and lynx inhabit the woods of Britain. For me, it always pointed, certainly in more recent times, to the introduction of the 1976 Dangerous Wild Animals Act, where many cat owners decided to dump their novelty pets in the woods. Reports dating centuries previous could well be explained by escapees/releases from circuses, private zoos and travelling menageries. All the evidence points to this when you consider reports in the press, menagerists’ and their incidents, and some owners admitting they’d released animals.

Now, after stating this I was accused by the hilariously named ‘The Highland Tiger’ of being ‘outlandish’ and full of ‘hot air’, with no evidence to back this up, or the claims that I’d ever seen or filmed a large cat in the wilds. Usually, any posts I decide to write always provoke a petty response from those cowardly folk who are unable to come out from their façade, but tragically, it has always proved me right that the ‘big cat’ community is unfortunately littered with people who

a) are completely deluded by thinking these animals have some more esoteric, or even prehistoric explanation,

b) are simply out to stir the s**t,

c) seem to have no valid theories to put forward themselves,

d) have never seen a large cat in the wilds because they are too busy stuck behind a PC all day.

I’d like to hear everyone’s opinion to maybe put this boring, tiresome debacle to bed. I’ve always written about monsters but in regards to the ‘big cat’ situation I’ve sought no reason to create any kind of mystery when there isn’t one to create. It’s clear that myself and the CFZ has opposition out there, and that’s always going to happen but clearly this debate will rage forever because there clearly are a lot of sad anoraks out there with nothing better to.

I’d simply like to know where do you think ‘big cats’ came from, and if you’ve seen one please do reply.

Many thanks,

Neil Arnold


Tabitca said...

I am all for the commonsense explanation of escaped big cats that people had as pets or from private zoos. Highland Tiger continues to show himself up as being bigoted against CFZ. If he spent his time actually researching or did something about the bullies on some of the other sites , who are rude and obnoxious to people, especially younger people, he would be doing us all a service instead of just being a bleeping nuisance. Maybe he is jealous, because it sounds like sour grapes to me.I am waiting for him to pick on me because I will not hesitate to sue for libel. Hiding under a false name is so cowardly but does not prevent the law from taking its course. Don't let him get to you Neil.

Dale Drinnon said...

Hey Neil you already should know that I think as you do: and not only for British cats but also Australian ones and so on.

Retrieverman said...

Highland tiger?

Isn't that the Scottish wildcat?

I didn't know they had internet access or typing skills!

I'm a bit skeptical about black leopards in the UK, but leopards historically lived in very cold places. Some of the black ones come from the temperate Kenyan Highlands. It's possible, but I'm still a skeptic.

But just because I am skeptical doesn't mean that I am disagreeable.

Neil A said...

Thanks Tabitca, believe me, no-ne ever gets to me, I was just interested, because surely, if you rule out private menageries, circuses, alleged airmen importing them, modern zoo escapees and the releases of animals in the '60s etc, surely trhere are no options left ? I find it bizarre that options such as prehistoric survivors, and demon cats can even be considered, especially when we should be looking at down to Earth theories/answers.

How can someone say, "Well, I don't know where they came from", which is a pretty poor answer.

Retrieverman, I've seen a black leopard three times in Kent, and believe me, it was no feral cat.

The problem in the UK of course is that a tiny, and I mean tiny percentage of people are actually out there, in the field looking. Leopard, puma and lynx are naturally shy animals, sightings often by chance, but in reality, not many people actually have the time to put the hours in.

I've been fortunate that in more than fifteen years I've observed several large exotic cats in the wild, and it's a privelege to do it full-time now, and this gives me more time to search through archives, and it's truly amazing at the amount of people in the Victorian era, and in the '60s who purchased black leopard, lynx, puma.

I can't understand why any other theory can be used to explain such animals apart from releases/escapees.

Chris Clark said...

Yes, last September when some of us on the CFZ expedition saw orang pendek in Sumatra the same person (or at least the same pseudonym) went to a lot of trouble to rubbish us on Cryptomundo. Probably he should be ignored:
'The eagle suffers little birds to sing,
and is not mindful what they mean thereby'

As for big cats: it's certainly more rational to believe in escapees and releases than in pan-dimensional hyperbeings beaming their pet leopards into Kent. It would also explain why so many leopard sightings are black, when this is a minor variant in the wild and caused by a recessive gene: a founder effect in an initially tiny population could cause this.